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How Early Can You Diagnose Asthma

What Are The 4 Categories Of Asthma

Diagnosing Asthma: Mild, Moderate, and Severe

1) Short-term reversible dyspnea airways react to certain triggers causing cough, wheezing, chest tightness and shortness of breath. Symptoms usually resolve within 5-15 minutes and are reversible with inhaled bronchodilators. Asthma action plans should be in place for these patients. 2) Occupational asthma is caused by workplace and may or may not be triggered by allergens. 3) Allergic asthma is caused by airway allergies. 4) Non-allergic asthma is rare and usually idiopathic and may or may not be associated with pulmonary HTN..

Does Your Child Have Any Of These Symptoms

Wheezing and/or Chest TightnessSometimes this takes place only with exercise or with a cold.

A young child who has frequent wheezing with colds or respiratory infections is more likely to have asthma if:

  • A parent has asthma.
  • The child shows signs of allergies, including the allergic skin condition eczema.
  • The child wheezes even when he or she doesnt have a cold or other infection.

Frequent CoughMay be more common at night, and the child may or may not cough up mucus. You may notice your child is tired during the day, possibly due to lack of sleep.

Shortness of BreathThis is a feeling of not getting enough air into the lungs. It may occur only once in a while, or often. Shortness of breath can feel like tiredness or a decreased ability to do normal activities. Young children who are not yet verbal may experience feeding problems with shortness of breath while older children may describe tiredness, fatigue or just not being able to keep up with other kids their age.

What Can You Do If Your Child Has Been Diagnosed With Asthma

If your child has just been diagnosed with asthma, know that you are not alone. Asthma Canada and your healthcare team have many resources available to you.

  • Start by learning as much as you can about the condition. Work closely with your childs healthcare provider to monitor your childs asthma symptoms. Ask questions and clarify any information you are unsure about.
  • Reach out to Asthma Canadas FREE Asthma & Allergy HelpLine to speak with a Certified Respiratory Educator.
  • Begin keeping a diary to keep track of what non-allergic triggers affect your childs asthma. This will help you identify your childs triggers, and develop strategies to avoid them.
  • Learn all you can about your childs medications. This includes possible side effects of medication and the appropriate technique for administering medication.
  • Ask you healthcare provider about developing a Kids Asthma Action Plan. And Asthma Action Plan monitors asthma symptoms and has a written plan to follow when symptoms change.
  • Join Asthma Canadas membership alliance to connect with other Canadians living with asthma or impacted by asthma.

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When To Refer To A Specialist

Most paediatric asthma cases are diagnosed in primary care without the input of general paediatricians or paediatric respiratory physicians. However, a number of children with asthma may need to be referred to specialists for diagnostic or management input. Common indications for specialist referral include no or poor response to asthma treatments, inconclusive objective testing, poor symptom control with appropriate treatment, frequent oral corticosteroid use or the occurrence of a severe asthma attack. A key element of specialist care is a multidisciplinary team consisting of a number of professionals, including specialist nurses, psychologists, physiologists and pharmacists.

Healthcare professionals must consider any safeguarding implications at all paediatric asthma reviews as part of delivering holistic care. Unexplained or frequent do not attend appointments or suspicion of poor medical management at home should be flagged and acted on locally.

How Do Doctors Diagnose Asthma In Children

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Diagnosing asthma in children under age 5 is a little different. It involves a careful process of history taking, physical exam, and diagnostic studies. Children this age usually are not given a breathing test. Instead, the doctor asks about certain signs and symptoms of asthma . The doctor may prescribe a bronchodilator if they think your child might have asthma. If the bronchodilator helps reduce your childs symptoms, that is a sign that your child may have asthma.

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Why Have I Suddenly Developed Asthma

Asthma is characterized by lifelong excessive airway inflammation that leads to symptoms such as coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath. The inflammation is triggered when an allergen such as pollen or pet dander comes in contact with the immune system. Common triggers include cigarette smoke, cold air and exercise. Common asthma symptoms include: Wheezing Chest tightness Coughing Shortness of breath Trouble sleeping Frequent infections Learn more about asthma symptoms here:

What Is Childhood Asthma

Childhood asthma is the same lung disease adults get, but kids often have different symptoms. Doctors also call this pediatric asthma.

If your child has asthma, their lungs and airways can easily get inflamed when they have a cold or are around things like pollen. The symptoms may make it hard for your child to do everyday activities or sleep. Sometimes, an asthma attack can result in a trip to the hospital.

Thereâs no cure for asthma in children, but you can work with your childâs doctor to treat it and prevent damage to their growing lungs.

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What Causes Asthma In Infants And Toddlers

We still do not know what causes some people to get asthma. If a child has a family history of asthma or allergies, a specific allergy or had a mother who smoked during pregnancy, they have a higher chance of getting asthma early in life.

A respiratory virus, an illness that occurs in the lungs, is one of the most common causes of asthma symptoms in children 5 years old and younger. Although both adults and children experience respiratory infections, children have more of them. Some preschool children get viral infections often. At least half of children with asthma show some sign of it before the age of 5. Viruses are the most common cause of acute asthma episodes in infants 6 months old or younger.

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How Is Asthma Diagnosed In Adults

Early Warning Signs of an Asthma Attack

Asthma is a condition in which the walls of the airways narrow and swell, causing the patient to have difficulty breathing. It is due to the inflammation of the lining of the lungs. Apart from the inflammation, there are other contributing factors which may worsen the symptoms of asthma. These factors include stress, colds, exercise, allergies, and irritants such as cigarette smoke. Asthma is also known as a chronic disease and is believed to be hereditary. While treatment for asthma is available, it is not always effective. This is why it is important for patients to understand asthma so that they can make the necessary adjustments to live with the condition..

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The Impact Of Asthma On Daily Life

Asthma is often under-diagnosed and under-treated, particularly in low- and middle-income countries.

People with under-treated asthma can suffer sleep disturbance, tiredness during the day, and poor concentration. Asthma sufferers and their families may miss school and work, with financial impact on the family and wider community. If symptoms are severe, people with asthma may need to receive emergency health care and they may be admitted to hospital for treatment and monitoring. In the most severe cases, asthma can lead to death.

Will My Child Outgrow Asthma

Asthma is rarely outgrown it often persists into adulthood. However, some parents see the symptoms of asthma go away as their child grows. This could be the result of the childs lungs growing larger or the immune system adapting over time. However, sensitivity to allergens as an asthma symptom trigger may still remain. And for many, symptoms often reappear years later.

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My Baby Is Wheezing Is It Asthma

My baby is wheezing. The doctor wants her to get breathing treatments through a nebulizer. I’m worried! Could she have asthma? Audrey

Probably not. Many babies and young children wheeze due to colds or viruses and don’t develop asthma when they’re older.

Young kids are more at risk for wheezing because their airways are very small. When they get a cold or other respiratory tract infection, these already small passages swell and fill with mucus much more easily than an older child’s or an adult’s. This can cause wheezing, coughing, and other symptoms that people with asthma get.

Another thing to consider is how often your baby wheezes. One instance of wheezing isn’t enough to diagnose asthma. It must happen more than once. But even when wheezing happens a bunch of times, it still might not be asthma, especially in young children. Most kids who wheeze as infants outgrow it and don’t have asthma when they get older. So doctors usually can’t make an asthma diagnosis until children are older, by about age 4 or 5.

In the meantime, doctors will treat any asthma-like symptoms. They may prescribe asthma medicines, but probably won’t officially diagnose a child with asthma unless symptoms continue.

  • wheezing that has happened more than once
  • long-lasting coughing or coughing that get worse at night or after active playing
  • any other breathing problem that concerns you

Avoiding Childhood Asthma Triggers

Asthma Attack in Children: Causes, Early Warning Signs, and Treatment ...

To prevent asthma attacks or to keep them from getting worse, focus on known triggers with steps like these:

  • Donât let anyone smoke in your home or car.
  • Clean bedding and carpets often to fight dust mites.
  • Keep pets out of your childâs bedroom. An air filter can help with allergens.
  • Get regular pest control to avoid cockroaches.
  • Fix leaks and use dehumidifiers to prevent mold.
  • Donât use scented cleaning products or candles.
  • Check daily air quality reports in your area.
  • Help your child stay at a healthy weight.
  • If they have heartburn, keep it under control.
  • If exercise is a trigger, your childâs doctor might have your child use the inhaler 20 minutes before the activity to keep their airways open.
  • Make sure they get a flu shot every year.

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Childhood Asthma Risk Factors

Asthma is the leading cause of long-term illness in children. It affects about 7 million kids in the United States. Those numbers have been going up, and experts arenât sure why.

Most children have their first symptoms by age 5. But asthma can begin at any age.

Things that can make a child more likely to have asthma include:

  • Exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke before or after birth
  • African-American or Puerto Rican descent
  • Being raised in a low-income environment

How Do Doctors Diagnose Asthma

Personal and medical history: Your doctor will ask questions to understand your symptoms and their causes. Bring notes to help you answer your doctors questions. Be ready to answer questions about your family history of asthma and allergies, the medicines you take, and your lifestyle. Be ready to share current physical issues, conditions, and concerns. This also includes all previous medical conditions.

For example, if you have a history of allergies or eczema, you have a higher chance of having asthma. In addition, a family history of asthma, allergies, or eczema increases your chance of having asthma, too. This information can help your doctor make a diagnosis.

Tell your doctor about any home or work exposure to environmental factors that can worsen asthma. For example, these might include pet dander, pollen, dust mites, mold, cockroaches, and specific foods in some people. Environmental irritants including cleaning chemicals and tobacco smoke can cause asthma.

The doctor may also ask if you get chest symptoms when you:

  • Get a head cold
  • Use specific medicines
  • Are under increased amounts of stress

Lung function tests: To confirm asthma, your doctor may have you take one or more breathing tests known as lung function tests. Lung function tests detect how well you inhale and exhale air from your lungs. These tests measure your breathing.

Common tests used to assess your airways include:

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Will Your Child Outgrow Asthma

Once a person’s airways become sensitive, they remain that way for life. About half of the children who have asthma have a noticeable decrease in symptoms by the time they become adolescentsâtherefore, appearing to have “outgrown” their asthma. However, about half of these children will develop asthma symptoms again in their 30s or 40s. Unfortunately, there is no way to predict whose symptoms will decrease during adolescence and whose will return later in life.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 04/01/2019.


What Can I Do To Manage My Childs Asthma

Symptoms of Asthma

When a baby or toddler has a chronic illness, parents can feel stressed to their limits. Here are some coping tips:

  • Learn the warning signs for increasing asthma in infants and toddlers. Know your childs particular asthma symptom pattern.
  • Develop an Asthma Action Plan with your childs doctor. Make sure the plan has a course of action to follow if asthma symptoms get worse. Understand when your child needs emergency care.
  • Follow your child’s Asthma Action Plan every day! Dont change the plan until you consult your child’s doctor. Even if your childs symptoms are gone, stick with the plan until you discuss changes with the doctor.
  • Teach your toddler or preschooler to tell you when they are not feeling well.
  • Work out an emergency plan of action to follow if your child has a serious asthma episode. What hospital will you use? Who will take care of your other children? How does your medical coverage provide for emergency care?

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Why Are More Children Getting Asthma

No one really knows why more and more children are developing asthma. Suggestions include the following:

  • Children are being exposed to more and more allergens such as dust, air pollution and second-hand smoke.
  • Children arent exposed to enough childhood illnesses to build up their immune systems.
  • Lower rates of breastfeeding have prevented important substances of the immune system from being passed on to babies.

What Looks Like Asthma But Isnt

Its actually asthma, but its brought on by something other than allergens, such as air pollution or cold air. These types of asthma attacks last longer and may be more severe than asthma brought on by allergens. But they can be just as dangerous. People with this type of asthma may need to be treated with asthma medications year-round..

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Burden Of Asthma In Preschoolers

The prevalence of asthma among children ranges from 8.3% to 12.3% in westernized countries with 80% of pediatric asthma patients manifesting symptoms before the age of 6 years . Preschool aged children experience the highest rate of morbidity with a 4-fold higher prevalence of emergency room visits , and up to a 10-fold higher rate of hospitalizations than older age groups.

Long term cohort studies have found that lung function trajectory is established in childhood and that children with asthma are at risk for irreversible airways obstruction in adulthood with pathologic findings of airways remodeling developing between 12 months and 3 years of age . Therefore, the pre-school years are a critical time for intervention . While there is some degree of over-diagnosis of asthma , much of the morbidity associated with preschool asthma relates to underdiagnosis and concomitant lack of initiation or adherence to preventative therapies. As such, recognition and accurate diagnosis of asthma in preschool aged children may help the child and caregivers understand symptoms, improve treatment adherence , and adjust life-style to minimize exposure to potential triggers.

Asthma Treatments For Children

Learn about Childhood Asthma â Triggers and Treatment

Treatment will depend on your childs symptoms, age and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is.

Your childs health care provider may refer you to a pulmonologist. This is a doctor with special training to treat lung conditions. Your child may also be referred to an allergist. Both of these specialties have expertise in treating asthma. Your childs treatment is based on how severe his or her symptoms are and how well they are controlled. Treatment includes finding triggers and ways to avoid them. It will also include medicines. Asthma medicines include:

Medications for quick relief of symptoms:

  • Bronchodilators . These medicines are used for quick relief to help open the narrowed airways. They help relieve coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. The most commonly used asthma medication, albuterol, is a bronchodilator.
  • Combination inhalers with inhaled steroids and a certain long-acting bronchodilator . Sometimes, in specific cases, these medications may also be used for quick relief.
  • Steroids . These are sometimes needed for short-term treatment of significant asthma flare-ups.

Asthma control medications to help control and prevent symptoms and reduce the frequency and severity of exacerbations:

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Asthma Signs & Symptoms

People with asthma experience symptoms due to inflammation in the airways. They might only occur when you encounter an asthma trigger. Common symptoms that can lead to a diagnosis of asthma include:

  • Persistent or recurring coughing: which often occurs at night or early in the morning, although it can happen at any time. Coughing is a major feature of asthma, especially in children and can sometimes be the only sign of asthma.
  • Wheezing: is difficulty breathing accompanied by a whistling sound coming from your airways
  • Shortness of breath: gives you the feeling that you cant get enough air into your lungs, and may even find it difficult to eat, sleep or speak
  • Chest tightness: an unpleasant sensation of heaviness or pressure in the chest that can make it hard to breathe
  • Increased mucus production: is characterized by high levels of thick fluid or phlegm accumulating in your airways
  • Difficulty breathing while exercising: having trouble breathing while performing physical activities can be a sign of asthma
  • Losing Sleep: Being unable to sleep through the night because of breathing troubles

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